NEW YORK — Landing the backing of Miramax has its perks, as actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Renée Zellweger well know. Through its distribution of "City of God," the shocking and violent film that traces the decline of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during the Sixties and Seventies, the studio has added another "Miramax girl" to its unofficial stable — Alice Braga, the winsome Brazilian who plays Angelica, every teenage gang member’s dream girl, in the film.
Though Hollywood might be an unknown entity to her, the film industry is not. "I was born in the middle of cinema," says the husky-voiced 20-year-old during a recent trip to the city from her home in São Paulo. Her father is a director of short films and TV, her mother is a former actress and her aunt, Sonia Braga, known as the "Brazilian Bombshell," is a soap opera actress turned international sex symbol who has starred in films opposite Marcello Mastroianni and William Hurt.
In Brazil, Alice has appeared in commercials for everything from McDonald’s to cola to chewing gum. But "City of God" was her first major role, won after a test audition opposite the all-boy cast. "I loved them!" she trills in her accented English. Though she’s auditioning for more roles, Alice already boasts the enviable connections of an established star. She has a rocker boyfriend, who plays bass for the Brazilian musician, Djavan, and is holed up in fashion designer Carlos Miele’s apartment during her stay here.
But she still has much to learn when it comes to the who’s who of Stateside filmmaking. When asked if she’s met Harvey Weinstein, the actress looks befuddled.
"No, I haven’t," she says. "Who is he?"
— Alison Oneacre
LOS ANGELES — If playing a moody teen on a WB show isn’t a surefire way to get noticed in Hollywood, then starring in a highly anticipated Ang Lee film will probably do the trick (it worked for Katie Holmes). Mike Erwin, the dark-haired, dimpled heartthrob of "Everwood," will play the teenage Bruce Banner in Lee’s big-screen version of "The Hulk," bowing in June.